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BAIAE Campania, Italy.

A city belonging in antiquity to Cumae and situated 4 km from it on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Despite its proximity Baiae contrasts with Cumae significantly. it has no specific and defensible citadel but was built on a long hillside sloping down to the shore, “a subsidiary crater in the wall of Avernus.” Only in 178 B.C. were its thermal springs (aquae Cumanae) first mentioned; and not until a century later, perhaps as a by-product of the social war or the Sullan period, did it become the Roman fashionable resort par excellence. From this time until at least Alexander Severus its landholders were Roman aristocracy, especially after a large part of the town became imperial property under Augustus and his successors. Like Puteoli, it was and is far more subject to bradyseism; it is estimated that Roman Baiae extended more than 100 m beyond the present shore. Except for the controversial interpretation of the Great Antrum, it had no special cult significance, aiA no genuine temples have been identified. It had no amphitheater; presumably those at Cumae and especially Puteoli sufficed. it was uniquely famous among poets and vacationers for its natural loveliness and charm and for its hot and curative mineral springs which supplied the baths and, above all, for its licentious living at all periods. Cicero makes it synonymous with libidines, amores, adulteria, actae, convivia, commissationes, cantus, symphoniae, navigia (Cael. 15.35), and Seneca gives a critical but lively account of its life and of Vatia's nearby villa (Ep. 51.55); (for a more rural estate, cf. Martial 3.58). Cumae inspired no souvenir glass vases, but the principal monuments of Baiae are illustrated and identified on a 4th c. glass bottle like those of Puteoli now in the Museo Borgio of the Propaganda Fide, and on the famous Piombino/Populonia glass now at the Corning Museum, which includes scenes of both Baiae and Puteoli. The former bottle shows a pharos, the stagnu (in) Neronis (Nero's fishing lake), a silva and the place-name Baiae; the latter includes the palatiu(m); and both show the famous ostriaria (sic) and a second stagnu(m). According to A. De Franciscis the ruins probably represent an imperial Palatium (cited in the literary and epigraphical sources) occupying the slope of the hillside, extending upward as far as the ridge, and in the arrangement of its various parts, so adapted to the lay of the land as to have the advantage of the panoramic view. Established on an area where there were already constructions, the building of the complex would have developed over the course of several centuries, its principal monuments originating in the age of Augustus, in the middle of the 2d c., and at the beginning of the 3d c. in the various elements on the several levels Professor de Franciscis identifies a vast porticoed courtyard, terraces, grandiose rooms, salons and minor rooms of various dimensions with several sections for receiving delegations, others for lodging, and a vast sector of baths. The coastline of the principal archaeological area runs almost directly N-S with the following principal monuments:

1) The so-called Temple of Diana is a domed structure externally octagonal and internally circular (29.5 m diam.), half preserved, together with its appendages, on the side supported by the hill. it is probably Hadrianic, and has a slightly elliptical profile; possibly it was a casino.

2) South of the railroad, and likewise supported by the hill, the so-called Temple of Mercury is a great round vaulted building (21.5 m diam.), with a circular opening at the top. This vaulted dome, built up over concentric contracting levels of temporary wooden falsework, is a kind of opus incertum of tufa set in cement with a predominance of wedge-shaped tufa blocks of which the wider outward ends conform to the greater outside radius of the dome; toward the center opening the thickness of the shell is 60 cm, increasing down to the junction with the vertical walls. The whole is obviously reminiscent of the Pantheon at Rome, and about half its size, but is assignable to the late Republic or earliest years of Augustus by its fine and careful reticulate work to the exclusion of brick. Cramp-holes on the interior indicate an ornamental marble veneer. Like all the other bath constructions it had high windows for light and ventilation and niches for statues and, in addition, ground-level extensions on a NW-SE axis of which the NW, a kind of nymphaeum, connected with the aqueduct supplying water and the other was perhaps for outflow. A small corridor at the rear exterior base of the dome served both as a retaining wall and drainage channel for earth and water descending from the hill, for maintenance, and as a platform for a small staircase whereby the center opening and high windows could be covered in inclement weather. From the main rotunda a passage leads to a later large rectangular tepidarium(?) embellished with niches and an apse. Bradyseism, neglect, and the installation of a vineyard over the vault had reduced the monument to near ruin when emergency restoration was undertaken, though not thorough excavation, and the whole rotunda was identified as a natatorium. Further excavations (1964-65) in this area have shown dwelling and service quarters, including some late Flavian and Severan painted decoration.

3) To the S and E of this complex a considerable lower area is still unexcavated, but higher on the hill there are over 100 m of parallel N-S loggias, a portico, and an ambulatio on different levels. From here the evening view down the slope of fine buildings and across the bay to Vesuvius, with Sorrento on the right, must have been magnificent.

4) The next considerable unit, excavated in 1951, is the charming Acque della Rogna, so-called from its curative powers, or more elegantly the Terme di Sosandra from a statue found in its upper part. it consists of three levels set in the hill: first, a high residential quarter recently interpreted as a monastery; then lower, a small exedra-and-nymphaeum with a round pool in an orchestra adaptable for dramatic, oratorical, or musical events; and finally, 8 m still lower, a promenade and lounging area surrounding a rectangular swimming pool (34.8 x 28.6 m). This whole unit from top to bottom is bounded on N and S by grand staircases and ramps ca. 60 m long.

5) The most southerly of the baths centered round the so-called Temple of Venus now also confusingly but more accurately described as the Baths of Venus. The area shows remains of Augustan construction, but the present spectacular structure is Hadrianic. its lower story, the natatorium, is externally roughly square with at least one highly complicated annex, and internally circular (26.3 m diam.) with four large bays; its upper story is octagonal outside but the interior circle continues with high windows.

A part of the same bathing establishment and several meters higher than the so-called Temple lie the Baths of Venus across the modern strada provinciale, excavated early in WW ii. These baths rise 5 or 6 stories against the hill; their principal feature is a large apsed rectangular hall enclosing a bathing basin.

6) Still higher, at the 23 m level, is a Sacred Area, a complex of buildings of several periods and the entrance to the spectacularly impressive Great Antrum, which consists of a descending passage (0.5 x 2.5 m) cut straight back into the rock for 124.5 m and continued by a complicated series of further passages downward to a tunnel flooded by hot springs at about sea level, and upward to an inner sanctuary. The whole unit extends ca. 350 m from the entrance.

The remainder of Baiae, both the seashore and the heights behind, including Julius Caesar's magnificently located villa, has been archaeologically wrecked and aesthetically ruined by the construction of Don Pedro de Toledo's castle, installation of the modern port, pozzolana quarries, road building, etc.

Some serious underwater archaeology has been undertaken at Punta dell'Epitafflo to the N and elsewhere, as well as less systematic raising of columns, statues, etc. Some of these are now in the Naples Museum.


General: A. Maiuri, The Phlegraean Fields (Guide books to Museums and Monuments in Italy, 32) (3d ed. 1958, tr. Priestley)MPI; M. Napoli in EAA (1958)PI; J. H. D'Arms, Romans on the Bay of Naples (1970)MI; ThLL II, s.v Baiae.

A. Maiuri, “Il restauro di una sala termale a Baia,” BdA 2, 10 (1930-31) 241-55 (Tempio di Mercurio)PI; id., “Terme di Baia: scavi, restauri e lavori di sistemazione,” BdA 4, 36 (1951) 359-64 (Terme di Sosandra)PI; G. d'Ossat, “Il ‘Tempio di Venere’ a Baia,” BMusImp 12 (1941) 121-32 (Appendice al vol. 69 del BullCommPI; M. Napoli, “Di una villa marittima in Baia,” Boll. Storia dell'Arte del Mag. Salerno 3 (1953) 77-109 (Severan villa with statues); id., “Una nuova replica della Sosandra di Calamide,” BdA 4, 39 (1954) 1-10I; P. Mingazzini, “Due statue ercolanesi rivendicate a Baia,” Scritti in onore di Guido Libertini (1958) 111-16I; N. Lamboglia, “Forma Maris Antiqui,” RStLig 25 (1959) 302-9PI; 26 (1960) 361-64P; F. Rakob, “Litus beatae Veneris aureum: Untersuchungen am ‘Venustempel’ in Baiae,” RömMitt 68 (1961) 114-49MPI; A. De Franciscis, FA 18-19 (1963-64) no. 7303; id., “Underwater Discoveries around the Bay of Naples,” Archaeology 20 (1967) 209-16PI; P. E. Auberson, “Etudes sur les ‘Thermes de Vénus’ à Baies,” RendNap NB 39 (1964) 167-78; W. Johannowski, FA 20 (1965) no. 4601; R. F. Paget, “The Great Antrum at Baiae,” BSR 3S (1967) 102-12PI; id., In the Footsteps of Orpheus (1967) (Great Antrum)MPI; id., “From Baiae to Misenum,” Vergilius 17 (1971) 22-38PI; id., Atti Taranto (1970) 126ff; C. G. Hardie, “The Great Antrum at Baiae,” BSR 27 (1969) 14-33.


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